Here we are about to hit another major milestone in our prematurity journey, and I have mixed emotions. I want to be excited but with this milestone comes a loss for us. A loss of another fantastic team of professionals that will visit one last time but when they walk out the door this week, we will say “goodbye” not “see you next week.”
I am a mother to two beautiful daughters. My oldest daughter was so eager to hit new milestones on her own that my husband and I could take a backseat and just watch in amazement. She was walking by 10 months, fully potty trained at 2, holding actual conversations with anyone who would listen by 3, even riding a two wheeled bicycle by the age of 4. When I say we sat and watched, we sat on the sidelines and watched. She figured it all out on her own.
Our youngest on the other hand, born at 29w6d, needed a lot of support. First, the support of her amazing medical team in the NICU for the first 73 days (about 2 and a half months) and then at home support with our therapists from First Steps. Throughout the past 2 ½ years, we have had speech therapists, developmental therapists, physical therapists and occupational therapists in our home. While she only needed short term developmental and speech therapy, our physical therapist and occupational therapist have been here every week for the past 2 1/2 years. They have become an instrumental part of our journey, and truly, a part of our family.
As we prepare a Minnie Mouse birthday party for our daughter’s third birthday, I have mixed emotions. I am amazed at the progress she has made, much in thanks to these two ladies. When we started, she was so weak, could not hold her head up, even struggling to eat and drink. She is now running around the house, climbing steps and rock-climbing walls, hanging from her Big Sister’s gymnastics bar, eating, and drinking non-stop, and is the happiest little girl. I prayed many days for this day to come, and now that it is here, I am wishing time would slow down just a bit. Not only have Jessica (Physical Therapist) and Moriah (Occupational Therapist) both given my daughter the tools and guidance she needed to achieve this milestone, but you have also shown her love and compassion and built a level of trust with her that is more than we ever could have wished for. When she says, “love you,” no doubt in my mind that she truly means that. We all do.
For me personally, I want to thank you both for being my “safe place.” I have shared so much with you both over the past couple of years, you have certainly seen me at my worst, you have seen me feel completely deflated trying to balance the stress of a full time position and a mother balancing the multiple appointments and therapies their child needs, you have seen me fight to hold tears back when it just became too much, but you are also seeing the beginning of this new phase for me. Because of how you have both treated my family, you have motivated me to completely switch careers and to work towards finding a way to give back in a similar capacity for future families that will be in similar shoes as ours. You both will always have an incredibly special place in my heart.
When you walk out the door this week, know that I will not say “goodbye,” but a “see you later.” I truly hope that our paths cross again, whether professionally or personally. Thank you both for helping put our broken family back together. Thank you for loving Holly, showing love and compassion to all of us, and for including Emmy in the therapy sessions. Most importantly, thank you for reminding me just how strong we truly are. We will all miss you so much!
Amanda Tellmann is an adoptive and bio mother to two beautiful daughters, her youngest being born at 29w6d. Amanda joined the Graham’s Foundation team as the Care Package and Community Outreach Coordinator. In her free time, she enjoys journaling, crafting, DIY projects and home organization. Her greatest passion is spending quality time with her husband and daughters. She finds that playing dress up, organizing impromptu dance parties in the kitchen, or spending an hour playing during bath time is the mental break that all mothers need from time to time.
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