Our girls were born emergently three months early and spent 93 days in the NICU initially clinging to life. It was the most harrowingly difficult time in our lives.
But they made it and were discharged on Christmas Eve, 2006. To say they are fighters is an understatement. And while they fought for their lives during those first 93 days, it is now our turn to fight for them as they approach pre-school age.
Both Ava & Zoe have received Early Intervention (E.I.) services due to their extreme prematurity since they were 6 months old. E.I. consists of therapists coming to our home at least once a week to work with the girls in areas which they have tested for developmental delays (physical therapy, occupational therapy, language, speech, cognition, fine and gross motor skills, etc.) This has been extremely helpful to both the girls and their development and to us, as parents.
But those services end when the child is 3 years old. A&Z turn 3 in September.
Unfortunately, the girls did not qualify for pre-school as they missed the date cut-off by about a month and therefore would have to wait another year before attending pre-school. But, if a child demonstrates a need for services, they become eligible at 3 years old.
So today we meet with our local school department to review the formal evaluations of the girls that were done over the past 6-8 weeks, determine eligibility for services, and if so, develop an educational plan for each of them.
So, I’ve been up early today reviewing their evaluations again, making notes and sideline justifications, notes to clarify, and lists of concerns to arm myself for our two hour meeting today. I feel like I’m fighting for their futures. I’m fighting for them when they can’t fight for themselves.
There is enormous responsibility bundled with being a parent. But having a child that requires a little more help initially to ensure their success in the future is even more stressful and engaging. But we embrace that challenge with vigor and arm ourselves with as much knowledge as we can and walk into that meeting knowing that you aren’t going to take “no” for an answer.
Most of the school professionals we have met are absolutely wonderful, care deeply about their students, and are passionate about making a difference. I find that extremely refreshing and it makes me, as a parent, so much more comfortable eventually trusting another person to care for my daughters – even for 2 1/2 hours at a time.
So as the meeting approaches, my anxiety increases, but my faith in my own determination to fight for the little girls that should by any account not be here without the sheer genius of the NICU staff, stands unchallenged.
It’s my turn to fight for them. And that I will.