Today is our wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been joking with each other all day. We find it funny we are spending it exactly the same way we did last year… watching Charlie sleep, coaxing her to eat, and diligently measuring her fluid intake.
I try to keep what I write about my husband and our relationship on my blog to a minimum. There are some things I consider too private to write about. However, because it is our anniversary, I’m going to bend that rule a little. I frequently read anonymous posts on preemie sites inquiring about relationships. I’m going to address it with few vague words. These are some of the ways having a micro preemie has affected our relationship.
The first thing I noticed was that I saw my husband stronger than I had ever seen him. When I fell to pieces after Charlie’s birth, he took the reigns. He wheeled me to the NICU to meet Charlie. He bragged about her to strangers while I stood back and secretly hoped that I would not have to talk. After all that, I see him differently now. I know he has courage and strength within him that previously went unacknowledged.
Next, we had very different coping styles when Charlie was in the NICU. Despite our best efforts to be sensitive to one another, there were a lot of misunderstandings between us due to this. We had to consciously make the effort to communicate. Especially, during the times that we were short with one another.
Finally, what happened to us was traumatic. We both had different ways of surviving and bear different scars on our psyches. There are many powerful emotions and real fears involved in raising Charlie which cause irrational conflict. Sometimes, we need to take a few minutes to cool off (which is very difficult on occasion) and proceed to talk it out. Usually, once we understand the other’s position we can construct an agreeable compromise.
Marriage is not an easy endeavor for anyone. Having a micropreemie further complicates things (as any trauma does). This morning at 2 AM, my husband strayed from our discussion of Charlie’s feeding problems (we now know it is not a stomach bug) while we changed her vomit covered sheet to say “Happy anniversary”. I smiled back pleased he remembered and because non ambitious celebrations have kind of become our new thing.