The first thing the doctor said to us when each child was born was “SHE'S ALIVE!” not the typical "IT'S A GIRL OR IT'S A BOY" that most parents hear.
The first time I got to touch each of my girls they were three days old. The nurses cautioned us to be very gentle. We shouldn't rub them. We shouldn't caress their tiny bodies. When we pulled away we needed to be very slow and delicate, as not to rip their skin.
The first time I physically held my children in my arms they were 10 days old. I held them on my bare chest and their tiny little bodies barely covered the palms of my hands. I cried tears of joy but also tears of guilt, blaming myself for not being able to carry these tiny babies full term.
The first time I got to dress my girls they were 27 days old. American Girl Doll clothes were too big for them.
The first time I saw my girls beautiful faces without any tubes, wires, IV's, NG tubes or OG tubes they were nearly two months old.
As a first time mom, I didn’t have anything to compare these experiences to. It was normal for us.
But… it’s not normal!!!. We’ve had to do things that other people can’t even imagine. Being a preemie parent gives you super powers. You are braver than Batman: you learn to push on in the darkest times. You are tougher than Superman: you learn to say “Well, I think she will recover" or "We continue to be cautiously optimistic” when a doctor says “This might be the end.” or "your daughter will probably never be able use the left side of her body.""
You are more adaptable than you can ever fathom: you learn to hold your baby in a nest of wires, and ventilator tubes, and IVs.
You are a preemie parent; you are a superhero: you learn to hold your baby so you don’t rip their skin!! You learn millions of medical terms no parent should ever need to know! You hear medical machines beeping and chiming in your sleep. Hearing the microwave beep off freaks you out for months after bringing your children home. You know how many cc's make an ounce. You can translate your child's weigh from grams. You get really angry when you hear a pregnant woman complaining about wanting to have their child at 28 weeks or 30 weeks.....knowing that you would of given your own life to be able to carry your child full term. You are on a first name basis with your pediatrician. You still talk to several of your NICU nurses on a regular basis....they are like family members!
I could go on and on. But I will stop there....