Preemie Awareness

My preemie is now a toddler.  I guess being a preemie is a label you always have, like being reliable.  Most of the people I know who know people in their teens through thirties who were preemies still call them preemies.  There is so much written about what to expect in the NICU, the various ailments that are prevalent in preemies, but when my preemie was a baby there was not really anything about what to expect at home with your child.  Temperment and what to expect as preemies are not like a baby who comes home right after being born.  Preemies are on schedules and they like to be wrapped in blankets, my preemie liked the room to be dark and did not like a basinet.  It was the summer when our baby came home and I wondered if the air conditioner would be too much.  I put Germ-X everywhere so our hands would be sanitized and limited visitors and trips anywhere.  Most of that the NICU nurses were great about telling us.  I didn’t know formula would be an issue and that preemies have reflux and that the baby would have a slight hernia from straining after the formula didn’t agree.  I didn’t know that this child would be super clingy and get upset when my husband and I left the baby’s sight path for two seconds.  Some of it could be second child characteristics, but this one is more clingy and more needy.  It’s nice because as the last child, it’s nice to have someone to baby for a bit longer.  I always feel guilty because the baby was in the NICU and we came home and I think the baby remembers that and is afraid to miss us again.  I didn’t hold my baby until three days after the birth and I feel that made a huge difference.  I don’t care how many nurses and social workers told me otherwise, I wanted that after birth bond and instead the baby was whisked away by neo-natologists and I wish too sick and weak for several days to see and hold.  Once we were all home I could not find a support group online or in my area for parents of preemies and I think there should be one.  There are support groups for everything else under the sun.  It’s emotional and physically draining to parent a preemie and if you don’t have anyone else who can relate, it’s you on your own trying to research things on the internet and praying that it will get easier and feeling inadequate as a parent.  Things do get easier, but for at least eight months it was the hardest time of my life.  So if you know someone who has a preemie or if you have a preemie, I encourage you to keep a journal, try to get some you time, don’t get stressed out.  It all comes around like with other babies, it just takes longer.  Patience is the biggest thing you will need and that will develop and in my case prayer.  I learned to pray about everything and anything.  I am glad my preemie is a toddler and still is clingy and needs me!!!


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