You Will Survive Being a Preemie Parent
You have survived, days, weeks or months in the NICU, you have dreamt of the day ever since your babe was forced (or pulled) into this world when you can bring them home. You have had a preemie due to preeclampsia, multiple babies, incompetent cervix, uterine didelphys, or for maybe one of the most difficult reasons- for unknown reasons. And you will survive being a preemie parent.
You have survived not being able to see your baby for hours or days after they were born. Weeks before seeing their face, weeks before being able to touch them more than just on the top of the head and bottoms of their feet because their skin is tissue paper thin and anything more than that would be too painful for them. You have survived weeks before they were strong enough for you to do kangaroo care (hold them).
You have survived seeing them scream in pain, have needles, operations, procedures, days you (or the doctors) weren’t sure if they would survive.
You survived being told when you would be able to touch/hold your babies, you have survived being told when to change the diaper, how to take the temperature, or wipe your babies’ bum.
You have survived reflux, ROP, brain bleeds, infection, NEC, hyperbilirubinemia, apnea, bradycardia, to only name a few. You have survived great nurses that you never want to go home, and nurses you wish would never touch your baby again.
You have survived the blisters and pain on your breasts from pumping every 2-3 hours. You have survived your c-section or episiotomy or natural child birth.
You survived watching your baby struggle to breath, CPAP machines, oxygen levels, intubation, encouraging them to be able to breath on their own, and feeling disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
You have survived listening to the beeps, the alarms, the sight of hoses, wires, leads, tubes and IVs all over your tiny 2 pound baby.
You have survived being frustrated when you come to see them in the morning and they have had a bad night full of spells and aspirations. You have survived watching in frustration that they can’t hold down their food, or breastfeed/bottle feed for more than a couple of moments.
You have survived the steps forward and backwards. You have survived their successes and their setbacks.
You have survived hearing what your baby will, or will not be able to do when they are older. You have survived hearing that the doctors aren’t sure if they will live through the night. You have survived the uncertainty, the unknowns, the frustrations and the loss of a term baby.
You have survived being away from home, sleeping in an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar place and being away from your other children. You have survived the financial strains of having a sick baby and lack of work.
Yes your baby has survived, and yes your baby struggled, fought and battled his way to being able to be strong enough to come home. Yes your baby survived all the pain, torture, heal pricks, pokes and prods.
You, your baby, your family. Have. Survived. Remember that on the day that you bring your baby home. Remember that you, and your babe are strong, that you are able to care for him, that you are able to deal with any obstacle that is put in front of you. You have already survived more than your average parent. You have already dealt with more than most parents have to deal with in their lifetime. Have faith in your ability as a parent, have faith in your babies ability to survive. Be the strong, courageous, powerful, caring, loving, supportive parent you have been so far.
You have survived. You WILL survive. You all will be ok, home at last.