Sunday, February 10, 2008

I am left wondering, What the Hell?

My daughter was just born, and now she's nearly three. Nearly three, and a big sister. Again I'm left wondering what happened here. Did I blink and miss something? Did I fall asleep? Or was I just trying so hard to keep up with everything and didn't quite notice.

Somewhere in the middle of the intensive speech therapy and interventions, my daughter has picked up the whole "language" thing. She's still not so keen on using her words, but she has advanced from never wanting to acknowledge us or communicate with words with us, to using words AND using those words to communicate with us AND when she feels particularly inclined it is not unknown to hear a sentence fall from her lips. I'm so proud of her when this happens I want to pick her up and cover her face with kisses and run down the street announcing this triumph to the world.

See! My Daughter! Mine! She can talk! Just like a normal child! My daughter, she's normal! She just said a word, she just asked for a cookie, she just told me that she likes bubbles.

How warped has my pride become, or my expectations, that this is now the thing I call a triumph? I invest the same level of excitement in this that I hear from other parents whose children have just been accepted to an ivy-league school on full scholarship. My little boy took three of his feeds by mouth today, and finished the whole of his feed each time. I want to snatch him from the crib and hold him up to the world so that everyone can see how brilliant he is. You read that and say "so?" A baby. He eats. A whole 37ml. Which, for those of you who don't care to do the conversion, is 1 ounce and 1 tsp.

But for a babe who has been fed the first week or so of life solely by IV, and after that for two months by a tube run down his mouth and into his stomach, this is quite a big deal.

Guess it just goes to show that I'm a preemie mom. We left most ideas of "normal" milestones behind us the day we saw our children in an isolette on a vent. We left it with the scrub-in and the stack of clean hospital gowns, with the double-collection kits when we collected the hospital grade breast pump or made the decision that we would save our strength and focus on recovering and learning what was necessary to best care for our babies. That's not an easy decision either. As much as I've stressed over supply, that's a personal choice that I made to try to pump and if I could try to nurse. There are plenty who decide that they have to recover first- these preemies often come at the end of a sudden medical crisis. Surgeries, medical stuff that has to be medicated and monitored and there are plenty of meds that mean you can't give the milk to your babies. It's hard and sometimes painful, and it sucks (pun intended). It's harder than learning to nurse a baby. I wish those ladies well. I'm glad I was lucky. I'm grateful for my miracles.

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