Scars of being a #Preemie Mom

With Monkey getting closer to 2 years old, more and more people have started to ask when JAM and I will be having a second baby.  I brush off their comments with a chuckle and a “Not right now” or “You never know” but underneath that cover is the truth that I am scared.  As the mom of a preemie I never want to have to go through that experience again.  Overall Monkey’s course in hospital was pretty smooth. He was pretty “text book” for a 32 weeker and now he shows no signs of his preemie days. However I still, and always will, bear the scars of being a preemie mom:

Of having a labour room filled with urgency and OBs, Pediatricians, respiratory therapists, and nurses; of all of them trying to explain what it means to deliver a baby 2 months early; of the nurses reorganizing the room and after Monkey’s birth cleaning up the tools that would have been used to intubate him; of spending that first night in the hospital and Googling “survival rate of premature babies” to figure out that the chances were good that my son would live (something I was too afraid to ask the pediatrician); of leaving Monkey at the hospital day after day, week after week; of all the tears with each setback, and the stone cold horror of watching the stats on the monitors drop as my baby forgets to breathe; of feeling immensely guilty, I failed the baby I am suppose to protect by not carrying him to full term.

Yes, today I have a happy healthy toddler who fills my heart with more love than I could have ever imagined, but that does not erase the wounds from the early days.
The fear of having another preemie, which would be further complicated by having Monkey at home, weighs heavily on my mind when I think about having a second child. I always imagined that we’d have more than one child, and never before have I let fear hold me back from any other challenge I’ve faced. I think about Monkey and how I have tried to help him through his fears so that he can continue to grow and I try to tell myself the things I’ve told him. Definitely this isn’t easy but I’m determined to keep moving forward and do my best to let go of my fear.

16 thoughts on “Scars of being a #Preemie Mom”

  1. You are not alone. I am the mother of 29 weeker triplets…and the sound of a sat monitor or a stat page on the intercom at the hospital sends me into a heap of tears..and they are four now haha

    It does get easier but there are scars we mothers carry even if our kids scars have healed. 🙂

  2. My oldest was a 36weeker and spent 2 weeks in our local NICU – he was intubated for 4 days…it was scary.

    It weighed heavily on my mind when I was pregnant with our youngest son; I knew all the things that I would do differently if he ended up in the NICU…..I actually didn't let myself think that he would be with me in hospital, and leave with me – thinking that if the worst happened I had already settled it in my mind. But, he was a perfectly healthy little boy that got to room with me and come home at the same time.

    I don't think any parent can understand the struggle of leaving your child in a hospital filled with ppl you don't; know to take care of them, unless they have done it. I thank GOD every day for our children's hospital and the care my son received…they saved his life.

  3. You brought tears to my eyes as I read this. Any preemie mom can tell you – we know. I know what you went through, I know leaving my son at the Nicu, I know being so sick I couldn't even touch him for the first 48 hours. I know the beeps, the bustling and the fear. I bare these scars too and my son is now 4. Happy and healthy he is, mama will always remember!

    Talk to your dr about having a 2nd baby, for me – damage was done inside that's irreparable and chances are low but for you it could be different, never give up hope!

  4. I'm there with you. <3 My middle was born @36 weeks(unexpectedly and very quickly) at home with hubby catching him.Two days later went blue and we ended up in the NICU for 2 agonizing weeks. You are right. The alarms, the beeps, the makes you kind of hollow. I wasn't allowed to hold him or nurse him, and I was a ranting, hormonal, weepy, scared mama. I hurt when I think of all the time I had to leave him with someone else, and all the time I left my 2 year old at home with someone when we'd never been apart.

    It did make me scared when I had #3 – but he was only a week early and healthy as a horse.

    The scars don't go away, but when I look at my silly, fun, big-hearted 6 year old, they fade.

    Thanks for sharing <3

  5. I also share your experience. My twin girls were born at 27 weeks. Today they also are happy healthy and thriving at 23 months old. I feel your fears and understand your pain but also know that the gift of a sibling is worth considering for A.C. We have a now 11 year old daughter that was our only child until the twins arrived. She also was a traumatic entry into our world and I allowed my fears to control for 9 years. It wasn't until I was told I had early stage cancer before I realized how my desire to have more babies still lived and breathed deeply within me. Don't allow your fears to deprive your family of joy if you feel that you want another. It's okay. There is hope and you are not alone. Undeniably it was a living hell watching 2 two pound babies fight for life…I am so grateful. Like an scare it eventually fades it never completely goes away but you learn to accept it and know that it is a part of your past never to be forgotten but you move forward. Good luck and I wish you joy.

  6. I still can here those beeps and picture the monitor numbers dropping. It is over 4 years since our little one came home. She was 13 weeks early and 2 pounds. After 79 long and often stressful days she came home and now is an active healthy smart 4 year old – and she is always right!

  7. I had a 36 week boy, and one at 36 1/2 weeks, both were healthy, but due to many complications and the fear that comes along with it (we lost our first at 18 weeks in the pregnancy – I still cry on the day I lost our first baby boy), we have decided not to have any more, especially as both my doctor and maternal fetal medicine specialist both suggested that my hubby and I be happy with our two beautiful boys. 🙂

    My heart wants more children, but after almost losing my own life with our youngest, I'm happy to be here and will be happy with the family I have.

    I understand your fear and my mother's heart sends hugs your way!

  8. As the mom of a 32 week preemie, I know exactly how you feel. In fact, I could have written much of your post myself.

    My preemie is now an absolutely amazing almost 9 year old, but my husband and waited a long time before we had another child – our son was born 4.5 years after our daughter and I was in the hospital a week prior to his birth with a few scares and he was born at 37 weeks.

    Hugs to you!

  9. My 26-week surviving twin has locked himself in my room with the dog and a cookie. Teasing the heck out of him. He's now eight and these are the moments that help make the days of the NICU fainter in my memory bank. I've had many preemie-parent friends go on to have more kids, but it wasn't something I could do myself. Had my marriage survived, I would have probably gone the adoption route. Instead, I wait a few minutes and listen to his amazing laughter before I break into my room and rescue the dog…

  10. Excellent post! Preemie mamas know – and I am one. When I went on hospital bedrest with my little one at home, I prayed for 5 weeks that my twins would stay put, but they arrived at 33 weeks. One was at the NICU for 2 weeks, the other for 4. It was hard to leave and come back. I was always without one or two of my three. And then having all of my beauties at home was scary too. The worst was when they forgot how to breath…yes, preemie mamas know. I hope with prayers and deep discussions with your drs and partner, you can find a decision that works for you. {hugs}

  11. Being a lucky Old mom of 6 with mostly textbook pregnancies, I had no idea what preemie moms go through. Almost two years ago a nephew would learn how it feels to pray a little girl from 1 lb 10 oz (and even less after losing weight) back to strength and health. And then it happened to my immediate family. My daughter had our grandson at 29 weeks this past fall…but he had stopped growth at 26 weeks. Emergency surgery, all birth plans aside, and the fight to keep sane and hopeful when see the tiniest of fingers and toes with slight movements trying just to survive. With incredible amazement they can come through and it is a wonderment I have had the honor to witness. Truly miracles all babies are, but those who start off life with such struggles…even more. Our little guy is now almost 10 lbs and making strides, but mommy especially wont' speak much of future pregnancy and family. Not even so much about the fears, the hectic and emotional schedules, the loss of income when having to take a long work break and what this catastrophic event caused to their finances—and possible loss of their home soon, but more so a certain event where he stopped breathing and she had to do complete CCR on him. To trust the experts while in the hospital NICU was much easier than trusting in her(your)self during a frantic emergency of life and death. She has an older son who is 11 and would love to have a daughter or another son close in age to the little guy…but how do you wrap your head around the possibility of reliving this again? God Bless all the mommys and daddys who hold those tiny hands and hope and pray them to grow and learn. You all have been tested and come out with love and appreciation and know grace like none other. I do believe that this is destiny of some sort and not something to feel guilty about. All of you should be proud and maybe take this as a sign you were maybe chosen to carry this and be able to come out on the other side with such gifts. You are all amazing!!!

  12. Katie……I'm with you. My Angelo, now 4yrs was baby #7 for me and Little Ava, 7mos is baby #9. Now I am done! Of 9 pregnancies I have 2 healthy, happy children to love and squeeze everyday. Not sure how we carried on? Both kids were csection preemies but spent zero NICU time. Someone was watching out for these 2 gifts I've been given.
    When you try again you will be smarter, stronger and have more love than you ever thought you could.

  13. As a Mama of a 28 weeker who was born at 980 g and was in the NICU for the first 70 days of life, I completely understand how you feel. I'm going through the same feelings right now. Hugs. Give me a shot and let's catch up. 🙂 xoxoxo Beautiful post.

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