Dear Preemie Mom,
I’m sorry. I know most people aren’t giving their sympathy when a new baby arrives, but I think you might want to hear it. I wish I could have heard some of these things following the very premature arrival of our girls.
I’m sorry nothing went as planned. I’m sorry you didn’t get to enjoy 40 weeks of kicks, feeling your little one moving around, safely carried in your belly everywhere you go. I’m sorry you didn’t get to enjoy the anticipation, day after day wondering when you’d be rushing off to the hospital.
I’m sorry you didn’t get that sweet first meeting picture with your babe and instead, your baby was whisked away. That you likely had to watch your partner rush off with your newborn to the NICU as you sat alone in the hospital room, finishing laboring or being stitched up.
I’m sorry you had to learn which beep meant your baby was having another “brady” episode and which one meant the sensor wasn’t on right. That you scheduled your days depending on rounds, knowing which doctors had the aggressive outlook and which played it safe. That you viewed feedings not just on how many ounces they ate but how many more they’d need to have the feeding tube removed.
I’m sorry for every time you had to watch a mom of a full-term baby leave the hospital with her cart full of flowers and her newborn tucked in its carseat on her lap. I’m sorry you had to walk in and out of that hospital, day after day, without your baby.
But, Mama, I am also so proud.
I am proud you put on your brave face and wheeled down to the NICU, for some of us just hours after major surgery.
I’m proud of you for soaking up every medical term you could to best advocate for your tiny babe. That you listened in on rounds or called the doctor to check-in. I’m proud that maybe, in the middle of your stay, you took a day off to take care of yourself.
I’m proud that maybe you woke up every three hours, not to your newborn baby, but to your pump so that you’d be able to feed that baby when they were ready. That you accepted a change of plans in how you’d feed your baby with grace, because at least they were eating all on their own!
I’m proud that while the baby book might not have a line for your milestones, you learned to celebrate every little victory that brought you closer to having your family together under one roof.
I’m proud to know that there’s another preemie mom out there. It’s not a title I’d want to give anyone, but with it comes strength, grace, and a tiny little warrior who taught us to fight like hell from their very first breath.
With love and admiration,
A Fellow Preemie Mom
This post originally appeared on Milwaukee Mom.