For 15 months now I have struggled in the online community. There is a real camaraderie in the preemie world. Although there is a division. You have your micro preemie groups, you late-term preemie groups, your ‘preemie’ groups that are kinda in the middle, your preemies with minimal effects and preemies with lots of effects of prematurity if not some form of birth trauma. While many try to rise above it, micro parents will be jealous of the late-termers, those with lots of issues will envy those with minimal to no issues and those will secretly some days thank God they aren’t in the other groups. It’s a vicious cycle that sometimes comes with resentment and some drama. But usually we are too wrapped up in our own daily lives to willingly fight with others. Sometimes. So now that you have the lay of the land..
There is a moniker that triumphs through all preemie communities. PROUD PREEMIE PARENT (MOM/DAD/SIBLING…etc)
I hate it. Personal opinion. It makes me shudder to my core. I can tell you great places to get all the coolest Preemie Parent gear – one of my favorites is It’s A Preemie Thing – they have awesome stuff for babies(my son’s first outfit came from them), kids, parents and even nurses – and the owner is a former NICU mom! Bonus! If you are a proud preemie parent head on over and grab your gear – I have nothing but love for you! I have bought numerous things from them, but for the life of me I just can’t buy or wear anything that says Proud Preemie Mom.
Because I am not. Never was. Never will be.
That’s not to say that I am not proud of my son. He is freaking amazing! He’s my real life superhero. But he survived. He was a preemie that wasn’t supposed to live a week. He wasn’t just a preemie, he was a micro preemie, when he was born they didn’t weigh him in pounds or kilograms – they weighed him in grams. I am not proud of this, I feel shame most days. Not of him, but the fact that he was born at 27 weeks. Because my body let him down. He was perfect and then I wasn’t. There wasn’t anything anyone could do, but it happened. So I am not a proud preemie parent, I am proud of my preemie survivor. Because that’s what he did. After a brain bleed that he wasn’t supposed to survive much less ever come off oxygen, an eye surgery before 35 weeks, a g-tube surgery at his due date, seizures, diabetes insipidus, temperature control issues… damn – he SURVIVED! He fought and he survived. I know grown adults that would have given up QUICK into that. So for that I proclaim to be a Proud Preemie Survivor. My family survived the NICU and all that comes with a micro-preemie. We are together, my marriage is intact, my daughter loves her brother without condition, we have found a way to educate people and in general have become more compassionate and sincere than we ever thought possible.
We as a family – SURVIVED.