Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spotlight on Preemies...Tristan and his Mommy

From one of my favorite preemies... Check out Tristan and his Mommy over at

Who is "your" preemie? (daughter, niece, grandchild, friend) & Tell me a little bit about him/her...
I started out with one preemie, but now I have many. My son, Tristan, was born at 30 weeks. We’d had a house fire one month prior and lost everything, including my cats. The doctors speculate that the stress from that is what caused me to go into premature labor; I had a textbook pregnancy until the night I delivered. He was almost born at the tequila bar/restaurant where I was working but luckily we were a few blocks away from our hospital and we made it just in time for me to deliver. I was in shock.
How would you say YOUR experience with this preemie(s) has affected you?
I never knew babies so little stood a fighting chance. I see babies tough fighters now; they are so strong.
How were you able to handle the NICU experience?
By crocheting. I’d drop Tristan down my shirt to “kanga” or “go roo’ing” as I’d say, then my hands would be free to hook. I made a huge pile of flowers. Some were turned into coasters for friends, and the rest hang in our living room like a pennant.
I also took a lot of photos and decorated his isolette/crib. Sleeping with his hats and “quilts” brought me strength and comfort and doing his laundry made me feel like a mom.
Before this experience what did you know about preemies?
I knew that it meant they were born before their due date; and I had a Cabbage Patch Kid Preemie when I was little.
What have you learned from all of this?
Never underestimate a child weighed in grams – or the parents who love them.
What advice would you give another person in your situation?
Focus on your child and not the machines. Do whatever makes you feel like a mom – take their temperature, give them baths, tuck them into little outfits and cozy blankets. Read them stories, sing them songs. Find a support group of women who will understand. You won’t fit in with people who don’t have children – nor with the moms who had full term babies for a while. Don’t let yourself become isolated. Community is so important.
Anything else you want to share?
I began by saying that when I began I had one, but now I have many. He is a toddler now, but along the way I met other preemie moms to lean on. We have shared our joys and sorrows, our aches and pains, our delight over any little thing – whether it’s an ounce gained, a mL swallowed, a step taken, or a first word. They are my best friends and their children matter very much to me. I delight in hearing from them every day and meeting up with them when I can. I call them Tristan’s Gang o’ Preemies.
It’s hard being a preemie mom – but the community will embrace you.

Tristan Then & Now (6 months and 18 months)

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