Friday, August 15, 2008

Not Superwoman


There are a few things I heard over and over again during the months following my micropreemie's birth. Truthfully, I still hear them on an almost monthly basis. Here they are:


1) I don't know how you handled having your baby in the hospital for 4 months...


2) I don't know how you lived in ONE room all that time...


3) I don't know how you threaded a tube through your tiny baby's nose down into her stomach every time you went to feed her...


4) I don't know how you pumped for SO long...


5) I don't know how you carted a toddler, an infant, and an oxygen tank to the grocery store...


All of these are ALWAYS followed by... "I couldn't."


Well.


I'm here to tell you that you could. And you would. Because there's not really a choice. No one asks a preemie parent if this is what he/she wants to do. Clearly, these are not all ideal scenarios. But you know what? You do it. You learn how to do things you never imagined you would have to. To tell you the truth, I wish I didn't know how to use a stethoscope to check tube placement at one in the morning. I wish my brain did not still insist of converting things to the metric system ("One teaspoon of Tylenol? Oh, you mean like 5 mL?"). I wish I had no idea what "She's on an eighth of a liter until she passes a sleep study" even meant. But I do. And you would too.


I'm just Mom. I'm a preemie mom. I'll even go so far as to say I'm a good preemie mom.


But I'm not Super Mom.

8 comments:

Ryann said...

AMEN my dear! One thing I hear a lot now is... "You are so lucky that she's such a good girl, doesn't really cry or throw a fit, sleeps well, and is mellow. And she doesn't ever seem to be sick like most kids... getting a cold or whatever!" I'd love to reply with... "oh, yes, of course, being a parent to Addyson has been so easy. she's never been a hassle. and although she sleeps through the night, try waking up to a phone call from the NICU at 3 AM with the doctor saying they had to intubate your daughter because she wasn't breathing. She doesn't get sick because we don't ever take her out or have visitors. Those who are lucky enough to visit must go through the battery of questions and scrub up like they are going into surgery!" So, yes... I can relate, you just do what you have to do to make it through the day and make sure your preemie is cared for.

Ryann said...

Oh, and it's such a pleasure to have to carry around 3+ outfits and a half dozen burp clothes because Addyson vomits constantly. And, true, we don't have to buy baby food or cheerios for her to eat, but try feeding your baby through a tube that goes directly into her stomach, not being able to give her tylenol unless you have her tube supplies, and having to listen to the beeps of the feeding machine when there is a kink in the tube! Please note my sarcastic tone!

JessieLeigh said...

You raise a great point, Ryann... there are a lot of insensitive, ignorant comments thrown around too. My all-time favorite was: "If a baby can do so well born early, why do we have to go through the horror of carrying them so long?" (asked to me by a hugely pregnant woman whose baby bump made my eyes burn with unshed tears of envy)...

In these cases, I think people were actually speaking in admiration, as if we're doing something incredible by taking on these challenges. But, in the end, it's just as you say..."you just do what you have to do to make it through the day..."

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to find this blog. 10 years ago, I gave birth to my first son at 26 1/2 weeks. He weighed 2 lbs 1 oz. Even though it's been 10 years, I went on to eventually have a child born full term, and my "preemie" is now a big boy, the pain of having a preemie never goes completely away. It's like a little club that you belong to...LOL. Ten years ago preemie clothes were JUST becoming sold in regular stores and there wasn't much out there for support. Remember these little preemies didn't have such a great chance of survival until like 1990 or something when they invented the shot for the lungs (surfactant or something?) I am so glad to have found your blog! :)

Liz

JessieLeigh said...

Liz,

I'm so happy to have you hear! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. Surfactant has made a HUGE difference in the quality of life (and breathing!) for so many preemies. The steroid shots they can give mothers in preterm labor can sometimes make all the difference. My labor progressed too quickly for the steroids but, even so, I am so very grateful for all the medical advances we've seen over the years! Thanks for stopping by. I'll hope you'll check in again.

FishMama said...

JessieLeigh,

I'm so glad you're doing this blog. Just reading what little I have has given me a new perspective that I might not have considered. Reminds me not to take my own situation for granted, but to be thankful, and more understanding. Thanks!

Can you send me your email?

Janet said...

Just found your blog, and holy cow did I need to read this today. Not even my mother really gets it when it comes to life with Alex, our little 10 1/2 week old 27 weeker (2 kilos this weekend, after starting out at 1 lb 7 oz), who is still in the NICU on CPAP, but graduated to a crib this weekend after a week and a half of good temperatures. He's amazing, and I don't know how we do what needs to be done, but we do, and we will.

JessieLeigh said...

Janet- Welcome! So happy to have you here. And a big congrats to little Alex for graduating to a big-boy bed! : ) The NICU ride is a rocky one, to be sure, but it sounds like your little guy is doing well and you definitely have the right attitude about it. Feel free to vent or ask questions here as needed. That's what this blog is designed for.