From the moment I was hospitalized with pre-eclampsia at twenty four weeks, I found that I had much to learn rather quickly. It started when I had to learn what pre-eclampsia was and continued through out preemie life. Even now, I am still learning. Here are ten things that I learned about life from having a preemie born at twenty six weeks.
1) Frequently, things just happen. I used to think that less than ideal outcomes had a cause. After my time spent on the High Risk Perinatal floor and in the NICU, I realize that many times there is no rhyme or reason to how things play out. Now, I understand the meaning of “C’est la vie!”
2) Heroes don’t always wear capes. Sometimes they wear scrubs (as is the case of NICU nurses) and other times they are disguised in street clothes (like Charlie’s therapists or other people who show unexpected kindness).
3) Perfect does not always mean flawless… especially when used in the context of people. Quality of life is independent of ability.
4) Fight and fight like hell. Do not give up. Whether I’m advocating for Charlie or struggling with limitations forced upon us, most battles can be won in some way. If I lose, at least, I tried.
5) Be selective in choosing disputes and people. Caring for Charlie, managing her appointment schedule, running the household, and recreation time exhausts me. Many days, I feel like I’m barely keeping up. I have to be selective in where and with whom I invest my time and energy. I prefer to be with people and do things that rejuvenate me rather than those that further drain me.
6) My definition of “important” has changed significantly. Most of what was important to me before having a preemie is now trivial.
7) Other than matters of life and death, most things can be managed or fixed. Some things just take more time than others.
8) Remember to breathe. There is nothing wrong or shameful in saying, “I need alone time.”
9) Laugh often… particularly at myself.
10) People can (and will) surprise and amaze me… that includes myself.