On April 13, 2008, I went to a Giants game. I didn't feel well, had kind of a headache, and I was annoyed that no one on the train would get up to give me a seat.
On April 17, 2008, at 12:43 am, the in utero baby we called “Spiff” turned into our son, Max.
What happened between these two events will forever be pivotal memories in Max's journey into the world, that have impacted us and him in ways we never would have understood looking forward from those days.
You can read Max's entire birth story starting here, but here are the tl;dr facts:
- I had a pre-eclampsia induced stroke while sitting at my desk at work.
- Max was born via c-section two days later, weighing 2 lbs 4.8 oz, 14.5″ long.
- I was 28 weeks, 3 days pregnant.
Life in the NICU was surreal. There were moments that seemed straight out of Grey's Anatomy, and there were the things no one tells you. Babies are so much sicker and tinier in real life than they are on TV. The alarms are louder, the barked orders scarier.
We were in the NICU for 91 days, and Max came home about a week after his original due date. The years since then, almost ten of them, have been a pretty stereotypical whirlwind.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘The days are long but the years are short' may seem cheeseball, but it's SO true. #parenting” quote=”‘The days are long but the years are short' may seem like a cheeseball sentiment, but it's SO true. #parenting”]
I knew, as I sat there in the NICU holding a less-than-three-pounds Max, that someday that time would seem like a flash. That someday, it wouldn't be the all-encompassing mountain that had yet to be scaled. That someday, we would find unbridled happiness.
As so many moms do, I took a lot of pictures in those early days. I wanted to remember, I wanted to see him grow. As I said, he was born on April 17, which was a Thursday. The very first photo of him, taken by my sister in the NICU, became Thursday. #1.
In that first Thursday post, I even call myself out: ” But it’s early now, and seems like a feasible task, so I’m gonna give it a go. I want to take and post a photo of Max every Thursday for as long as I can.” Well, here we are, nearly ten years later, and we're still at it!
Last week, Nov. 9, was Thursday #500!
One of my favorite things about looking at the Thursday pictures a whole project, is watching Max's NICU stay recede more and more into the background, as it becomes a smaller percentage of his life. What was everything for the first 13 weeks, slowly moved more and more into history, as the Thursdays rolled by and from the first Thursday picture at home (Thursday #14) to when he had been out longer than he'd been in the NICU (Thursday #27)
As I scroll through all the Thursdays, I have so many favorites. Too many to count. I'm surprised at how much I can remember the specifics hidden off camera in so many of the photos, and am so grateful for those memories, because they're the everyday moments that I'd have lost otherwise. Every day can't be a first trip to Disneyland, like Thursday #231!
The feelings that flooded me when I took Thursday #106 and he looked like a kid instead of a baby. Running around the park for a few minutes after work, chasing after Thursday #148. Thursday #409, where he was excited to come up with using his LEGO Dimensions portal to frame his face. (I could do this all day)
While I have all of the pictures here on my blog, and a giant collage of them that I update every few months in awe, I haven't done a video to put them all together. Five hundred seemed as good a time as any to finally do it, so I'd like to share it with you, so here it is. Max's entire NICU stay takes up about 10 seconds of the whole project. TEN SECONDS. So many memories, tears, and moments are encompassed in just ten seconds.
The moments are fleeting, sure, but eventually, even the longest days seem like a flash.