Preemie a blessing
When I had my preemie, I would never have thought life would one day get easier and back to normal. But it does. That first Christmas 3 years ago she was still so tiny, now she’s big for her age and all over the place. Amazing. What a blessing.
When I came home without my baby, I tried to convince myself that was ok. I was glad to be back in my house, with it’s familiar sounds and scents. I was happy to be back home with my oldest child and my pets. I was happy to be with my husband again. Of course your friends and family know, your baby is in the hospital and people drop food off to your home, to make it easier on you, but no one wants to really stop by because what do they say- let me see the pictures of your baby? How are you sleeping? They feel awkward because it is not a normal situation. I was on edge, my pressure was still through the roof, my husband and I were at each others throats because we both felt like crap. Completely drained, knowing she should be home but wasn’t and there was nothing in the world we could do to pass the time and fill the lonely void.
Pets don’t understand. When I brought my son home, my cats were super excited to come and sniff by the baby seat and try to get a glimpse of this new creature who made all the noise. When I came home without my baby, my dog was sad, he could tell something was different and I think he was expecting us to come home with her. When she finally did come home, he was really excited. Maybe he sensed my sadness because he would sit by me and keep me company during the day when my husband was at work.
I guess there’s many ways people deal with trauma and my way was to pretend I wasn’t concerned. Smile and keep a happy face. I let me husband make the calls to check on her at the NICU, I was so jealous and sad that these nurses could hold her and be with her and I couldn’t. Why couldn’t they understand I already had one child and I would be super careful and do everything they told us if I could only bring my baby home? Then I tried to make the best of it. Wow shouldn’t all new moms get some time to themselves for a week or so to relax and not have to get up in the night? Wasn’t it nice that she would be on a routine already from the NICU, so it should be smooth sailing from there when she came home. These are the things you tell yourself when your baby is in the NICU, because you are not expecting to ever experience this and it’s all new terroritory. But as much as you try to convince your mind, your heart knows. Your heart aches for your baby to be with you. You feel lonely because for almost 9 months it’s been the two of you and now it’s just you. You can touch your belly but you know she’s not in there. You sit and look at pictures and then you do web searches trying to figure out what the next steps will be like, how if life after the NICU? You are the only one you know in this position so you can’t compare stories and get advice from your friends. You are alone on an island that no one understands and you wonder if you’ll ever make it to the mainland. You think about your diet and should you have exercised more, should you have slept more, stressed less. You think about all the scenarios. Sending a mom home with a baby in the NICU is hard, because it’s like solitary, no one can comisorate and you have time on your hands to think. You aren’t cleaning or exercising or working like you normally would for distraction. It makes me mad that doctors don’t counsel before they send NICU moms home without the baby, I mean who wouldn’t sit around getting depressed.
Then you get the call, she can come home. We did the car seat test and you are all nerves again. Wow, how will we handle this? You sit and make sure she’s breathing at night and that she seems well. Is she taking in enough food? It’s new mom nerves to the 100th degree. My preemie had acid reflux like many do and she was very sensitive to light and tempurature and we had a rough year and a half after she was born, but then things got better. Other than developmental delays she was a regular toddler and today is an amazing pre-schooler. Last night her daddy realized it was his last swimming class he’d have to do with her, from now on she’ll be swimming without a parent and he was sad, our preemie is becoming a kid- wow, the days do fly by. What a blessing these two beautiful children I have. So I can see the silver lining now, but when she was born, I was a mess and that’s ok, because having a preemie is a life changing event that you can never plan for.