Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things I like about being a mom to a mircro-preemie

Being a mom to a micro-preemie hard. It’s challenging, and stressful and overwhelming at times. I have been lucky enough to find a great online support group at Preemie Blog Moms. It’s a place where I can go to chat with other parents who face the unique challenges of raising a micro-preemie. All to often it becomes a place for us to vent about our frustrations so I thought why not turn things around and make a list of things I like about being a micro-preemie mom.

Here are some of the things I like about being a micro-preemie mom:

1. While we were in the NICU I got to do a lot of Raegan’s care. Since she was in there for 105 days it gave us plenty of time to learn how to take care of her and what was normal and what was not. I like that I had doctors and nurses to give me hands on instruction on how to care for my baby including a hands on CPR class. If I had a full term baby I wouldn’t have know ¼ of the stuff I know now. I think I would have been more stressed out about taking Raegan home if she was full term then I was taking her home from the NICU.

2. Gratitude and Perspective- Being in the NICU day in and day out you see a lot of stuff. It’s different then reading about it or watching it on TV. You see joy and hope and fear and unimaginable grief, and not only do you see it, but you live it. There are constant reminders that even though your situation is horrible it could be so much worse than it is. It makes you grateful for everything. Every breath your child takes, and every drop of milk they eat. Every day that you get to spend with your child is a gift that so easily could have been taken away. It’s easy when you haven’t had to face such a hardship to look at other people’s stories and say “Oh, that is so tragic, so sad. What a strong family.” When you haven’t experienced it its just another sad story that couldn’t possibly happen to me, and there is nothing wrong with that. I did the same thing before Raegan, but shortly after her birth I noticed that I looked at people differently. I no longer looked at a child who was bald and hooked to IVs and thought poor sick kid has cancer. I started looking past the bald head, and the IVs and just saw a kid. I can look at a baby with a tube up their nose and not even notice. I am so grateful to be able to see past medical equipment, and a diagnosis and actually see the person and have an idea of the struggle they are going through.

3. Relationships- I had no idea how many people love and care for us until Raegan was born. When you go through such a tough situation it really brings people together. Family, friends, and even perfect strangers came together to help us. It was amazing and still is. I can’t tell you how many times I cried tears of joy when somebody stepped forward and helped us or even just sent a card to let us know they were thinking about us.

4. Germs- No I don’t like germs, but I do like that I can be as neurotic as I want about germs and hand washing and no one can bat an eyelash at me for it. Every new moms dream.

5. Bravery in the face of medical procedures- I understand most new moms freak out a little when they have to watch their babies get shots. Who can blame them? It sucks to watch your little one get hurt and it sucks even more when you have to hold them down so that someone can poke a needle in them. Listening to a little body be racked by a cough is pretty awful too, but Raegan had been through so much worse and done fine with it all and even though I don’t like watching her get shots or have her heel milked for 10 minutes for a blood sample its nothing compared to what I have seen done to her. If I can stand to see her tiny body paralyzed and hooked to a vent, then a set of vaccines is a cinch to watch.

6. The best part of being mom to my mircro-preemie- Raegan. I sometimes wonder if she would be different if she were full term. Would she look the same? Would she have the same personality? What ever the answer is I don’t care. I think being a micro-preemie is part of what makes Raegan the person that she is today and I love who that person is. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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