Preemie Parenting


As I write this, my premature baby who is now a toddler is exploring the house.  Standing on furniture, climbing the kitchen table- things I never thought I’d see when in the NICU. 

This year is amazing.  All the tweets about preemies, the stories on the March of Dimes website, the blog for preemies on tomorrow Prematurity Awareness Day.  It is all amazing.  I’ve been in this preemie world less than two years, but two years ago there was not this much support online. 

I can say with all honesty being in the hospital after my child was born prematurely was the worst experience of my life so far.  The first two days were not too bad.  I was sleeping alot and medicated because my blood pressure would not come down.  By day three it was still sky high but I was antsy.  I had not seen my baby yet.  I had not held my baby yet. That was the day I cried and cried and cried some more.  I didn’t answer the phone.  I turned visitors away.  And of all the nurses on duty that day, it would be another day until one of them came and talked to me about my sadness.  I knew it was not Post Partum depression because I had that with my first child.  This was just sadness.  Sadness because I didn’t hold my baby, sadness because my baby was very fragile, sadness because I could hear the healthy babies crying in their moms rooms and see them being wheeled by into their moms rooms.  I was desperate to be moved to an area of the L&D floor where moms who have sick babies could be, so I wouldn’t see all the healthy babies and start crying some more.  I was scared.  Then on day four a nurse took me to see my baby who was still so small and hooked up to machines and in her isolete so I couldn’t hold her.  Then I got even more scared.  I was so far from home and my husband came when he could but he had to take care of our older child.  I decided the best way to deal would to not be attached, so I sat in my room and watched tv and slept.  I was never so lonely in all my life and scared and worried.  I was mad and didn’t know what to do, so I couldn’t even pray.  I knew other people all over were praying for me, but I couldn’t.  When my husband started to worrying and called and then I got a social worker, I felt better.  I was so scared for my baby and no one was telling me anything.  Then my husband made me see the baby, hold the baby, feed the baby.  But then you are in the NICU which in itself is one place you don’t want to be.  There are such tiny little fighters, beeping and machines.  I read an article about parents of preemies having PTSD and I can see why. You come home without your child and it doesn’t get easier for months in our case.  There were times when I was home and my husband was back at work and I couldn’t soothe our child- there was reflux and irritable stomach, eye issues- everything.  So I went online for support groups in our area- there are none.  I wanted to find a chat room, nothing.  A book like what to do now that you and your preemie are home, what is normal for a preemie, etc- NOTHING.  My friends and family didn’t know about preemies, so there I was alone.  I eventually found the March of Dimes website and a website on Pre-Eclampsia which is what I had, and found many useful resources and it got better.  But I decided that when my children are older I want to be able to help other mothers who are in that situation.  Having a preemie is scary enough, without having to feel all alone.

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