After surviving our harrowing birth experience, it was difficult to reintegrate with everyday society. The conversations and comments seemed irrelevant. We shared in anything but the common experience. Over a year later,  I continue to feel somewhat detached from the world outside of the preemie realm. These are a few examples of the daily encounters that remind me that we exist in a different world.

Baby Related Websites:

If you have ever visited a baby related website then you are familiar with the standard questionnaire used to personalize such websites. One of the questions involves the baby’s age. Based upon the baby’s age, it provides pertinent information and advice. The problem lies in that my baby eats and babbles like a young infant, is as mobile as an older infant, and has the cognitive skills of a toddler. Charlie’s actual age is useless, as is her adjusted age for these inquiries. I have yet to figure out an age to enter on these websites that will result in relevant and useful information.

What Not To Buy Articles:

Along with lists of essential baby items, websites will include an article of superfluous baby items. The issue with these is that I regularly use about half of the items on any given What Not To Buy For Your Baby list. Baby bath tub? Fifteen months later we still use it. Bumbo seat? We used it for six months. Play pen? I could not imagine our baby experience with out it. Newborn sized clothing? Our baby wore it for three months. These articles are particularly aggravating to me. Most likely, they irritate me because the author assumes that everyone else’s baby experience is identical to theirs. 

Seeing Others Progress:

After Charlie had been in the NICU for over a month, most of the babies that were there when she arrived had gone home. The part that bothered me was seeing babies arrive after Charlie and then go home before her. It felt like we were stuck while everyone passed us by. Outside of the NICU, the experience is replicated by seeing babies younger than Charlie’s adjusted age hit milestones that she has been working on for some time.

Baby Gear Does Not Fit:

When Charlie left the NICU, we had a beautiful travel system someone had given us. Because Charlie was too tiny,swinging we had to wait before it would become a staple in our daily lives. Instead, we purchased the smallest sized car seat we could find with preemie inserts (for temporary use). Even then, we had to roll up receiving blankets to use as support for Charlie. That was the beginning of our experiences with ill suited baby gear. By now, we have found ways to make toddler swings, strollers, bouncers, high chairs, and etc work for us despite our baby being too small for them.

NICU parents, what daily occurrences act as reminders that you are a NICU parent?

About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

12 responses to “Detached

  • carolrain

    Thank you for writing about these things (both this list and your whole blog). I have a 25 weeker who is a year (actual) *today*, and the little things can still be unexpected and hard. Everything on your list has been something of an issue for me. I’ll add that all the advice about getting out of the house and comments about how portable newborns are were irritating to me as someone who brought a NICU graduate home on oxygen in Colorado in January. We didn’t go anywhere for months. (On the plus side, we didn’t have to worry about things like having a well-stocked diaper bag, a stroller that was easy to get in and out of a trunk, or how to feed her on the go.)


    • woodra01

      First off, Happy birthday to your little one! Congrats to you for making it through the first year. 🙂 Second, My heart goes out to NICU moms like you in cold climates during RSV season… it sounds brutal. When Charlie first came home, she needed so much junk each time we went out. One of her specialists asked “Are you able to get all that in one trip?” when the appointment was over. Fortunately, last winter was mild here so we were able to get outside quite a bit. If it’s frigid this winter, I will be turning to you for ideas and way to maintain sanity.

      Thanks for your kind words.


  • judy

    Since Agnes has spent more time in the hospital than out of it, I haven’t had much opportunity to experience these areas of dissonance. The one thing I have had a problem with and will continue to have a problem with are the baby clothes. Agnes has had so many tubes and wires that she can’t really wear outfits with a zipper; she needs snaps and there aren’t that many outfits with snaps.


    • carolrain

      Yes, the zippers and the little slip-on pants with feet don’t work at all. And another thing that was frustrating to us was that people gave us all those little bitty homemade hats, but she couldn’t wear them over her ventilator/c-pap equipment.


  • Heather L

    My husband and I have always thought that there should be a line of preemie gear, etc. (high-chairs, strollers)…not just clothing.


  • thebabydinosaurismine

    I got monthly email updates from a certain parenting website for months based off of my due date that explained what my baby should be doing. It was heartbreaking to get emails reminding me that A) my baby was way older than they thought he was and B) still not doing any of those things. I had to call the company to make them stop. I may have yelled. Those were our worst NICU reminder.


  • A Miracle In the Works

    Totally agree on the gear issue. We have a beautiful high chair that we can’t use. She also is too tiny to fit into the grocery store cart seats. I still have to wear her and she’s getting heavy when food shopping!!


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