Pictures really are great memories, aren't they?
While looking though my childrens baby pictures, it was more noticeable now then before on how tiny they were. Their little onesie wrinkly and loose, and a hat that covered to just above their eyes. Arms and legs spindly with not much fat. Amazingly, they didn't have any eyebrows or eyelashes. We were wondering why their faces looked different.
Why is this so? Well, both of my children were born premature at 35 and 34 weeks respectively.
Reading about November being Prematurity Awareness Month has special meaning to our family. Early on during my son's pregnancy, we knew that I would give birth early. Starting regular contractions at 20 weeks was the first sign. Next was being hospitalized at 28 weeks to stop the contractions further. And finally, after being on home rest, at 33 weeks I informed my home care nurse that I think the baby dropped in my womb.
Lovely...she did not believe me at first, but I knew. Being able to breathe easier and pigging out were definite signs for me. After she measured my protruding belly, she agreed.
Then, while watching the news late one night, my water broke. I was only at 35 weeks and arrived weighing 4 lbs 9 oz. Fortunately, he did not need any intensive care after the first 24 hours and could room with me.
My daughter's journey in my womb was much more eventful. Again, the contractions started at 20 weeks. But, at 32 1/2 weeks, I had to be hospitalized and put on that awful Magnesium IV. Hate that drug since it made everything I ate taste like metal!
I tried...really I did to keep her in my nurturing belly. We were grateful for each day from then as she remained warm and safe in my womb. But, again, her head dropped down at 33 weeks. Boy do I have impatient children! But this time, due to health concerns for me, she had to be coaxed out into this world at 34 weeks at 3 lbs 6 oz.
She spent some time in the NICU for about 1 1/2 weeks. Seeing those IV lines and tube protruding from her nose was difficult for me to see at first. And I'm a nurse! It sure is different when it happens to your loved ones. But close to the time she came home to us (after much negotiation with the neonatologist), it was scary just trying to get her to eat.
I feel fortunate that medicine has come a long way. Without the research, knowledge and support of the medical personnel, my children wouldn't be here today.
Take the time to enjoy your children. Look past all the fights, tears and messes and just think...I have happy, healthy children whom I love with my whole heart.