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Celebrating Your Preemie’s Homecoming Day

homecoming_candle

Celebrating Homecoming Day With Cupcakes

My daughter was born at 25 weeks on November 7, 2010. She came home 156 days later on April 12, 2011.

In  November we throw her a birthday party, complete with banners and balloons and birthday cake. This year she asked to have a tea party and we sipped warm apple cider out of tiny pink plastic cups while she sang “Happy Birthday” to herself over and over.

Every year her birthday becomes more beautiful to me, the bitter memories of the trauma of her birth and the fear and sadness that surrounded it fading away to allow these new moments to blossom. I relate so much to the conundrum of preemie parents, which Stacey summed up wonderfully when she said that birthdays bring both celebration and sorrow. And maybe that is why the day I remember with the most fondness is the one in April, the one in which we walked out of the hospital doors with our daughter for the very first time.

And so in April we celebrate her Homecoming Day.

See, I remember clearly the day I rushed back to the hospital when they called to say “come now” in hopes that if she didn’t make it I would at least get there in time for her last breath to be in my arms. There were so many moments when I prayed for just a little bit more time with her and others where I prayed that if her suffering was too great, the Lord would let her pass peacefully. I remember every lip biting moment, every red light alarm, every resuscitation.

Scarlette: 2 Months Old

Scarlette: 2 Months Old

And so every April 12 I celebrate that my mourning turned to gladness.

It is much a day for me as it is for her, a small pause to give thanks for how far we have come.

For us the fact that the anniversary of her homecoming falls in April means that it coincides with our local March For Babies walk and so it also means joining up with our friends and family and celebrating together while doing something to help those who come after us, finding themselves unexpectedly sitting next to a tiny isolette.

Celebrating Scarlette's Homecoming Day At Our March For Babies Walk

Celebrating Scarlette’s Homecoming Day At Our March For Babies Walk

And for Scarlette it means cupcakes and a special day dedicated to doing something fun just for her.

Because I think that after surviving a NICU stay, you earn an extra day of celebration, don’t you?

Scarlette | 3 Years Old

So in November we celebrate the day that she took her first breath and in April we celebrate the day that she took her first breath of fresh air.

Does your family do anything special to celebrate your Homecoming Day? If so, share your homecoming day traditions with us!

Kayla Aimee About Kayla Aimee

Kayla Aimee (GA) is the mom of a micro-preemie, Scarlette, who was born at 25 weeks gestation at just 1lb 8.6 ozs and spent 156 days in the NICU, facing a myriad of issues from PDAs to milk protein intolerance to sensory processing disorder. Scarlette is now a feisty four year old who spends her post-NICU days charming everyone she meets.

Kayla Aimee is the author of Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected, a memoir detailing their journey with prematurity, born from her love of writing and her passion for providing support for parents of preemies.

A southern girl through and through, Kayla Aimee writes about faith, family and her favorite things at www.kaylaaimee.com and loves chatting with other parents on her Facebook page

Comments

  1. Exactly! I find people outside the preemie community often don’t understand the importance of Homecoming Day. J’s 4th birthday is just around the corner, and while for him it’s about a Thomas the Tank Engine party and cake and presents, I can’t help but feel the sorrow that accompanied his first days. But, Homecoming Day is always full of joy for me. It’s when my kids didn’t just live but started living. Thanks for the post, KA!

  2. We’re closing in on our twins’ first birthday in September, so we’re still some distance from their homecoming days in February and March. Right now our plans are to do something for all three days. They have their shared birthday and then their own homecoming day about 2 weeks apart. We’re looking forward to starting these traditions.

  3. We also celebrate our twins’ homecoming anniversary dates in addition to their birthday – for the reasons you mentioned. It’s so fun to remember the milestone – and it gives them each their own day to celebrate!

  4. We just sent out the evite for our daughter’s second annual Coming Home-Iversary BBQ Party. She was born at 27 weeks 1 day in late March and came home 130 days later on August 8. We love celebrating her coming home – because just as you said that’s the happy day. Plus – there are way fewer germs to worry about with a big summer party than a late winter/early spring birthday party.

  5. This Thursday marks 1 year my daughter came home from the nicu and I thought it would be so fun to celebrate it! It won’t be much but I’m excited. I gave birth at 35 weeks and she came home the day after her 1 month birthday and day before her due date.

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  1. […] month I wrote about Celebrating Your Preemie’s Homecoming Day for Hand To Hold. I shared a little bit about our own family traditions, how her birthday is still […]

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