preemie growth

When I started this blog I was the mama to a preemie, well m preemie is five now and while I hope many of my posts will still help and guide preemie parents I am sure some things have changed since my preemie was born and in the NICU. Medicine changes and advances so quickly, things probably changed that same year. If you are reading this and you have a new preemie, push for kangaroo care, I asked and asked and asked and was told my child was too sick, too delicate, too soon to do so and I did not have a micro-preemie and that is something I wish we could have done. I think it would have helped me heal, helped me to make a bond and connection and helped her too. She is a very clingy child and I sometimes wonder if it’s because she didn’t have that with me for her first few weeks.
Having a preemie is hard, don’t ever tell yourself that it should be easier or let anyone else try to tell you that it can’t be that difficult. It is. In my case, I was still having extremely high pressures for almost a month after delivery, I had a child in the NICU, a toddler at home over 50 miles away, I was depressed and my marriage was strained. And one doctor had the gall too ask me why my pressure wasn’t going down!!!! Please. This was the most difficult challenging few months of my life. It changed around 8 months, and some things got easier but not all things. A preemie is still a preemie and doesn’t magically become a full term birth child at any point in time.
Unlike my first child there was never a sense of normal with my preemie. For years I held my breath because there were delays and there were hearing issues and eye issues. To this day there are long term issues which may have come from being born too soon, like Sensory Processing Disorder and we take each day at a time. In our case there have been long term issues, but each child is different. One thing I can say is that my five year old former preemie is one of the happiest people I know. Her father is pretty happy go lucky and I’m a glass half full kind of person, but she smiles and laughs and really enjoys life and that is awesome and contagious.
For a long time I would think why me, why us, what did I do wrong? And you know what, that does nothing. There’s no why me or what did I do. Things happen it’s life. Life is random, and yes there maybe some gene or something they will discover to say why some women get pre-eclampsia and some don’t, but it still will always be something that I had no control over. And thinking why me and comparing your life to friends with full term babies is useless. Each and every baby is a gift for their own mamas. Your preemie was your gift and you will learn something about yourself and you will be stronger and you will fight for your child and your child will be stronger too. Tiny babies who fight to survive and grow stronger are amazing little things who just grow into amazing bigger kids and people.
So preemie mamas don’t beat yourself up. You are doing the best you can. No one is perfect and life is going to be ups and downs no matter if you have a preemie or whatever else life throws your way. You will feel lonely. If your friends and family have never had a preemie they won’t understand and be able to make you feel better or offer advice. Your husband may be expressive or he may bottle it inside. I found out a few weeks ago after five years that while my child and I were in the hospital my husband went to dinner at my best friends house with my other best friend and their husbands and sat there and cried and they let him and listened and were supportive. He was scared for our baby, he was scared for me but he’s British and he was my strength and never once wavered around me, he coached me about keeping my spirits up and he went to the NICU and listened and learned while I was too sick, he was our little preemies only contact for almost a week. She spent over seven months with me and then she just didn’t hear my voice anymore and yes I know she was old or anything but they say babies can tell their moms voice while in the womb and I often wonder if she missed it when all she heard was strange voices and beeping machines. You will feel lonely when the baby comes home and its you and your child, you’ll be scared and nervous, even if it’s not your first. Find a good online support group or one in your area, make time for yourself and for prayer or reflection or any other distraction you can give yourself. Sleep and eat and stay healthy. You will have a normalcy again but it will be a different normal and that’s ok. This has made me the person I am today and I love every single hug I get from my little girl and I love to tell her the story of her special entry into this world and I love being her advocate and being able to know that she has some special needs and I will do everything in my power to take care of her and protect her and her needs. You can do it preemie mama, you can.


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