Who is "your" preemie? (daughter, niece, grandchild, friend) & Tell me a little bit about him/her...
Tyler is my son. He is 21m actual and 18m adjusted. He is the happiest and most awesome little guy I know. He is hilarious, mischievous, smart, and a total joy. He is an amazing, strong, and determined boy.
How would you say YOUR experience with this preemie(s) has effected you?
How has it not effected me? Once I was asked to choose 4 things that defined me as a person. Having a preemie was one of the 4 that I chose. I know WAY more medical terms than I ever wanted to know. I know pain, heartache, stress, sadness, frustration, and loss in ways that I never wanted to. I also know joy, happiness, excitement, and gains in ways I didn't expect. I take nothing for granted with it comes to being a mommy. I have also met the most amazing women because of having a preemie... and without those women, I wouldn't be who I am today either.
How were you able to handle the NICU experience?
I had a lot of support from my friends, family, co-workers etc. It was really really rough... but one thing that also helped was that we were transferred to a smaller, local hospital pretty early on and at times we were the only family in the Special Care Nursery. The most babies we saw there was 6 and 3 were triplets. Having a closeness and a wonderful relationship with the doctors and nurses was also key.
Before this experience what did you know about preemies?
I had a friend who had 27 weekers and lost one of the twins at 2 days old. Her experience was about all I knew.
What have you learned from all of this?
Everything. But what stands out is that I have learned it's ok to be strong and weak, happy and sad, scared and excited all at the same time.
What advice would you give another person in your situation?
Find support of those who have been there. People need to know that their feelings are validated and normal. They want to hear stories and thoughts and ideas. The only people who understand, are those who have been there before.
Anything else you want to share?
Although I wouldn't wish a premature birth on anyone, I know that it has changed me for the better.