Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Preemies, preemies, preemies. Why is it that I woke up this morning with PREEMIES on the brain? I have no idea. Maybe it was the dream I had last night, about being presented with not one but two full-term chubby swaddled baby boys? This afternoon I'm seeing the OB again and let me tell you that I'm getting a reconfirmation that there is only ONE child in utero. Not that I'd turn down twins, or even triplets, but I do have a sense of my limitations and I have a feeling that multiple newborns would be a bit much for me to handle.

So I had a preemie. Great. She's doing fine, catching up, right about where she should be given all other factors in our lives together. Cool. The next question is: where do we go from now? Winter is creeping in again and on the preemie boards that I still follow the questions are being revived about holidays! Family getting together! Inlaws and Outlaws not understanding our preemie rules! Synagis! And much, much more but those are the winter standards as I see them. It's really insane to think about.

As much as a new parents wants to hide their newborn away in a plastic germ-free zone, it's pretty near impossible to acheive. It's hard enough to keep the well babies from catching colds. A sick infant is one of the most miserable and pathetic sights I've ever encountered- and I used to give baths to our cats. A wet long-haired cat is not a pretty sight either. But I digress... sick babies. As awful as it is to see your "healthy" baby being sick, how much worse is it when you've in the past few months seen your underweight child on a vent? Covered with tape to hold wires and tubing and sensor leads in place? Once you've seen your baby come off those machines, there is no way in hell a mother or father will want to see that again. Once you've seen them struggle to take every breath, the mechanics of the common cold scare you more than the prospect of a head-on collision. Comparatively speaking, locking yourself in the house with the newborn for the next year or so makes a lot of sense. Throwing yourself between them and anyone else who has not passed a complete physical, donned sterile gowns, and scrubbed the full 3 minutes with surgical soap? Not a problem.

When I faced these questions, I found an even deeper one for me. How much fear will I live with? How far will I protect my child, my preemie, my baby girl who was born into this life the same size as a Holly Hobbie doll and weighing less than a box of bisquick? While I did not go around exposing her all willy-nilly to risk factors, I refused to live my life in fear. We left the house. Not for heavily extended times, but we left the house.

Looking at the Toddler now, I know I don't want to have to go through those things agian with another preemie. I know I may not have a choice. I'm scared. I'm terrified. I'm getting out of bed every morning and thanking the Lord I'm still pregnant and "doing well".

Serenity, yes? Just keep going.

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