Time and time again I’ve been told to treasure every single moment with my son, because they grow up so quickly. Literally probably every day of my life I’ve heard this, but it took me a long time to agree. You see, my son was born two months premature, so for me, I couldn’t wait for him to “grow” a little bit well, quickly.
And not only did I want him to grow, I didn’t know how long, or how much, or really anything because his age was adjusted. First time mommy here, baby is born early, and the doctor gives us “full term charts” and “premature” baby charts to “compare” off of. You could say, my brain hurt. To some level, it still does, but most of the time, it all is starting to feel like a memory.
I remember when my baby boy couldn’t breathe on his own. It only lasted two days, but they were the longest, and scariest two days I have yet to live.
I remember when my son wasn’t allowed out of his incubator due to jaundice. Try telling a new mother they can only hold their baby for ten minutes of an entire day, “maybe”….
I remember when my family came to see their nephew, grandson, etc, and they couldn’t hold him yet either. It was not the normal hospital stay with balloons, treats, and a BABY in the room. Nope. It was a quick visit and you could touch my baby IF YOU SCRUBBED YOUR HANDS FOR TEN MINUTES, through a hole in the incubator.
I remember when my son learned how to eat, through a feeding tube. Nothing beats seeing one shoved down his throat the first day of his life when he had no gag reflex, that was just a brilliant memory I try to not think about.
But, I also remember when he learned how to take a bottle, or was introduced to my breast. It wasn’t the same as if he was born “full term”. Although I can’t prove it, I believe in my heart that every tiny milestone, and every minor move or ounce gained was the BIGGEST deal to us as preemie parents. We weren’t stopping time in the beginning, we were in a time tunnel where every day felt like ground hog day, and every little improvement was the best news we’d heard since we found out we were pregnant. I remember those days, I remember them well.
Today, my son has three meals a day, milk in between, and is in sizes bigger then his age, and his adjusted age. Every baby grows at their own pace, and I definitely wouldn’t have given a rat’s a*s, had my son been full term. But, he wasn’t. We had a long road, an extended newborn phase, and every tiny little miracle that comes my way, I STILL celebrate it, like it’s the best news I’ve heard in my whole life. My heart STILL explodes every single time something new happens, and I think it always will.
I remember when I was in the NICU, I remember what it was like to bring him home…twice. I remember feeling insecure when every baby his age was doing things he wasn’t, and I remember sighing and being able to breathe when he would hit those milestones, a little later then babies his age. It was confusing, it still is sometimes, but man have we come a LONG way, in just seven months.
To some extent I’ll be a little insecure and scared until he has completed many milestone events. But nevertheless, most of the fear has surpassed. My fears now are “normal” new mother fears. I’m learning how to let go of the frightened new mother emotions I had for what seemed like eternity, and welcome the everyday mother emotions I SHOULD be having.
So yes, yes I didn’t listen when people told me to treasure every moment because they grow up so fast. I wanted my baby to grow, and I wanted him to grow QUICKLY. But, I’m getting better at it now. I’m learning that he does grow, and he will do everything and anything at HIS pace, because every single baby is unique. Full term, premature, it’s all relative. Every baby has their own path, and it’s up to us as parents to learn how to accept it….and yes, treasure EACH and EVERY moment.
Happy 32 weeks Parker Steven Hrynio. I had you at 32 weeks, but my you have surpassed and blown away any and every expectation I have ever had of you, you little monster in size 12 month clothing. I’m not bragging, I’m just trying to show other preemie moms, it’s ok to worry, but also keep your faith. I’m a preemie mom too, and well, it feels FREAKING amazing to see him thrive.
Namaste, and Rock On!