Almost Three Years In

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Charlie, ten days old

My husband and I are almost three years into our journey of parenting a preemie. A short amount of time that feels like forever.

In anticipation of the upcoming Parents of Preemies Day, I’ve been asked to write about what prematurity means to us today. The abridged answer? It’s complicated.

You see, currently, I’m angry at prematurity. My anger flows in waves.

At first, I was angry that prematurity nearly stole my first and only child’s life. Then, I was furious because of the long term repercussions it has on her life (CP along with speech and feeding delays). That fury was followed by outrage due to the complexities and strain placed on my family life by having a preemie. Now, I’m irate because it extinguished my hope for having another baby.

But, I’m not only angry.

Despite the anger, I feel incredibly lucky. I am fortunate my baby survived her early arrival. I’m thankful that she exceeded doctors’ initial expectations. I’m grateful for the imperfect and unconventional life we have as a family.

However, I’m saddened.

I mourn the pregnancy I didn’t have (mine ended at twenty six weeks). I lament the typical newborn and toddler experience that was taken from me (we spent over 100 days of her first year in the hospital). I grieve the second baby who will never be.

On the other hand, I’m hopeful.

I’m optimistic that one day we will finally leave all the therapy, specialists, and orthotics behind. I believe that she will one day “catch up” to her peers. I look forward to possibly adopting in the future.

The preemie parent club is a club I wish I didn’t belong too. Even though there are other members, it is a lonely journey. I find it difficult to relate to other non preemie parents because in my world five pound newborns are huge and intake is measured in mL. I feel disconnected from the moms I see in my everyday life. A trip to Target usually involves picking up a prescription rather than coffee or shopping. Most parents claim that time flies. However, I’ve found it creeps by slowly while waiting for another appointment to begin or striving for that next elusive milestone.

IMG_2011As it turns out, I’ve found no meaning in prematurity. To me, it is a collection of emotions such as sadness, anger, grief, rage, loneliness, gratitude, hope, and, most importantly, love. Love is what keeps us from falling apart and helps us find joy in our everyday.

Being a parent of a preemie is not the life I’ve planned for or chosen but, I love it nonetheless. Though the journey is tough, I’m so grateful that she’s here. I can’t imagine our lives without her.

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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

3 responses to “Almost Three Years In

  • Sue

    Twelve years after my 25 weeker was born, this still made me cry. Every word is true. It gets better as time goes on, the bad “fades”, but the trauma never goes away. I feel grateful that my child doesn’t have cancer or another life threatening disease, that he lived, that I have him to love and hold, but… But. Being a member of the preemie moms club sucks. And only another preemie mom knows how bad.

    On the positive side, the tears only lasted long enough for me to type that. Now they are gone and the good feelings flow back in. What I said was true, I’m grateful and blessed that we have him here with us. However it has to happen,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue

      I want to tell you also – we now have 3 more children – 1 biological (2 years after my 25-weeker – scary story – for sure never to be repeated again) and 2 adopted. While it’s difficult to imagine while you are in the thick of it, there is definitely life after preemie-hood!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Amy

    i totally understand everything in this post. I had a 27 weeker, born 1 pound 5 ounces and we’ve been through a lot. He will be 4 next month. He no longer needs therapy. He is in preschool (kind of) he has missed a lot of it because he has been sick so many times. We may home school him but he loves going to school and having friends. He has constipation problems and pooping on the potty seems like it will never happen. We give him fiber gummies and miralax. Constipation and lung issues are the big things we are still dealing with. I had a miscarriage with a baby before I had my micro preemie son. Going through a miscarriage and then having a micro preemie made me not want to have another child, but somehow I ended up wanting to have one more. The whole pregnancy I was waiting for bad news but it never came, and my 2nd son is now 10 months old and everything went perfectly with my pregnancy and c-section. My 2nd son was 6lbs 8oz and seemed like such a giant at birth, and he has grown so fast.
    With my micro preemie first son, wAtching him grow is like watching paint dry. I never understood all the people saying “it goes by so fast”, but I understand it now with my second son. I don’t know your circumstances, but maybe you’ll have a different experience if you had another.

    It stinks to feel so lonely and not have close friends or family that can relate to anything I have been and still go through with my micro preemie son. These pages are nice, but it would be nice to actually converse with someone on a regular basis. Plus everyone has their one journey so it’s not like you can compare details as much as feelings. I would personally like to talk to moms that have preschool age preemies that have similar issues with their kids getting sick a lot or constipation problems. I am trying to see if my son is having issues from the prematurity or if it’s just genetics.

    Like

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