Thankful looking for a lesson
I am stubborn and I am a control freak. I would have liked to think that when my child was born premature I would know there is nothing I can control, nothing. But I didn’t and now I am living with stress and high blood pressure, because I am a micro-managing control junky. I feel like I have been continually rushing ever since.
You don’t think about premature babies. You might see an ad for March of Dimes in a magazine, but I never gave it much thought. It’s something your co-workers cousin dealt with in the 80’s. It’s something people who smoke crack deal with, ladies with don’t take prenatal care, people without proper insurance. Premature babies were not something I needed to worry about. My worry was gestational diabetes, or my big fear a dreaded c-section. Not something like prematurity- that happened to other people or really sick mamas. Ha. Doesn’t life just slap you from behind sometimes. I became the mama with a pre-mature baby. I was the one who had the nursery planned and painted, the clothes ready, the meal before my due date planned. And then I was the one laying in one hospital, feeling scared and all alone in the world as they moved me to be taken to another hospital, one who could handle tiny fragile babies. There is so much that can happen to a preemie, so very much and I was ignorant to it all. Never in my mind did I think this would be my life. Before you have a preemie, you assume all babies usually go home from the hospital when their mama does, not so with a preemie. And this was the hardest thing I have ever experienced. It was gut wrenching sadness to be at home without my baby. Your house is off, it seems empty and it becomes an elephant in the room. In my case as in many, you don’t give birth in your hospital that you are used to and comfortable in, which is close to friends and family. I gave birth 50 miles from home, and at night when my husband left, I was alone and sad and wondering why, why was this now my life.
A newborn baby is meant to be snuggled close, you are to touch their little hands and stroke their little backs to lull them back to sleep. I placed my hand in an incubator two days after my child was born- I did not see my baby for two days, because I was so sick. All I wanted to do was to stroke her little arm, which was covered in wires, her eyes had a sleep mask on, there was monitors and beeping things, feeding tubes and an aspirator on her face, there was barely any baby to see, and as her mama, I wanted to touch her to let her know I was there. She had heard my voice for 7 months,and now I was back to her, and I was told, you can’t stroke a preemie, they are too sensitive, so I could stand there and stare at my baby. At that moment all I wanted was to grab her and run. Run and take her home. It was another few days before I could even hold her. The psychological damage that does to a new mother, is very hard. My feelings and hormones were all over the place and not once, was I offered a counselor or someone to share my concerns and fears with so I just cried when I was alone. Over a week later, one nurse finally showed me love and compassion and let me talk, I told her my fears, she shared her story of a sick baby, who was now a healthy little one.
As time goes on I kind of get angry when I think about it. How can a hospital not offer counseling to a mother in an event that can cause PTSD? When my 80 something year old grandmother passed away, the first thing they did was offer to get us a grief counselor in the hospital. But not in the case when your child is born premature.
There’s levels of prematurity too. There are micro-preemies, the tiniest of the tiny. There are preemies who are very small and in my case a preemie who was 6 weeks early and big for a preemie, because my babies always run on the large size, so every question or concern I had about development or what might happen I was told, don’t worry your baby is big, the info is on micropreemies.
My child has hearing loss, and sensory disorders. After genetic testing and seeing countless doctors, there is no reason why she has a hearing loss, she just does. Could it be from being a preemie? I think so. Are her sensory issues from being premature- yes most definately. Now my child has a hearing aid, and she is doing so good and she couldn’t wait to show people and she loves that she can hear. But she doesn’t know of the mommy tears I cry at night, thinking of stupid things like wow, she can’t ever wear ear buds, or someday some a*hole bully is going to make her feel small and different and hurt because she has a hearing aid. And I cry, because she loves life and someday she is going to be made to feel inferior because of her hearing loss. Life is hard sometimes and as a parent we are supposed to be able to protect our kids, but we have to send them into the world at some point. I feel sad, that I never expected or planned to have a preemie and instead of taking this lesson and learning and slowing down and just enjoying each day, I’ve been living a life of constantly trying to stay on top of the next thing, because I’m afraid of change and things just thrown into the mix. And I have prayed about this and I am slowly getting better. I just worry about all the other preemie mamas out there, who might feel alone, who think how will I do this? All you can do, is be the biggest champion for your baby, follow your instincts. My preemie is almost five now, and is seems so young to me some days, but she loves life and she loves to hug and snuggle and I wouldn’t go back and change it if I could.