Preemie Guilt


So your baby came early as if that’s not enough on your plate, you are dealing with a child in the NICU, you will go home and your baby will stay there and then when you are all back together, you are so scared. You worry about SIDS, about the baby taking enough food in, you worry about weight gain, too much stimulation, is it too bright, too dark, too warm, too cold, you worry about germs and cold and flu season. You worry about all of this and then mom guilt comes in. In my case, my baby was a preemie because of pre-eclampsia and HELLP. Nothing I could have done to prevent it. But at the time I didn’t realize this. I maybe read a small paragraph about it, but didn’t realize the symptoms I was showing, didn’t realize even if I followed a perfect diet it could still happen, did not realize it was my body and just something that happened. But it took me a long time to get there. My baby is now four and I still feel guilty. Was it because I took Flintstones in both pregnancies because I could not tolerate the vitamins, was it because I was sick morning noon and night in the first trimester and actually lost weight. Was it then because the only thing to settle my stomach was Dr Pepper, Red Hots and Sushi style ginger. Was it because someday’s water was not cutting it and I had turkey hill diet tea. Could I have exercised more? Should I have pushed myself less at work. Should I have been less stressed and worked up about stupid things. All these thoughts went through my mind. I would go over and over in my mind. How could I not have known more about this? How could I have done something different. This was pregnancy number 2, I had gestational the first time and this time I was trying extra hard to be extra careful and this happened. You get guilt because your baby is in an isolette with a CPAP machine, and tubes and wires everywhere. You get guilt because you can’t hold her or stroke her tiny leg. You get guilt because there are blood tests and all sorts of other tests and your small blessing is laying there going through all this. You feel guilt when you find out your child has a bi-lateral hearing loss and sensory issues. You feel guilt because your child has separation issues and you were not able to cuddle and skin to skin with her when she was born and she lived in a hospital without you. You fell guilt when you find out now you need to go to an endocronologist and you have been to the genetics doctor and it keeps going and going. But sometimes you feel Grace. You feel grace when she is a trooper, getting hit in the face at soccer and she keeps playing until their is blood pouring from her nose and only stops playing so you can take care of her, and doesn’t cry. You feel Grace when she is so happy all the time, never mean, never being grumpy and always smiling. You feel guilt because she can’t hear the tv unless she turns her head, but she won’t say anything to you and then she feels sort of embarrassed when you catch it and change the volume. You feel guilt when she is at school and says no one wants to play with her and other kids sometimes tell her she’s weird or annoying. You need to realize it’s not your fault, it’s not anyone’s fault. Things happen and who knows why, all I know is God gave us a tiny preemie package and it was the most trying year of my life and has had it’s ups and downs since, but she is such a pleasant loving little person, you realize you wouldn’t change a thing. Her need to be near you is amazing, because it means smiles and hugs and questions like did you miss me, when she runs upstairs for just a few minutes. I love my preemie so very very much. Prayers and Grace and that’s how I do it. Every single day.

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